Women achievers meet at UN forum in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru, Oct 7 (IANS) Over a dozen women achievers from different walks of life participated in a day-long festival at a UN forum in this tech hub on Sunday.

“The event brought together a diverse group of exemplary women from all walks of life on a platform for social media site Facebook and UN Women forum,” said its organiser in a statement here.

Created and curated by veteran journalist Barkha Dutta for ‘We The Women’ forum, the fest themed on #openingdoors and #breakingbarriers was marked by dialogues on issues such as the fight for women against the religious orthodoxy whether in ending Triple Talaq or demanding the right to enter Sabarimala.

“Issues like the battle by Bohri women to end female genital cutting; the new currents and shifts in popular culture and cinema; challenges and struggles of trans-women; life after the end of Section 377 and trials and achievements of women in uniform were also brain-stormed,” said the statement.

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Bollywood actors Sonam K. Ahuja and Taapsee Pannu, cricketer Mithali Raj, Saxophone Subbalaxmi, Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh, 102-year-old athlete Sardarni Man Kaur, India’s first female Ghatam artiste Sukkanya Ramgopal, Keshav Suri, Rohini Nilekamini, Raghu Karnad, Pooja Shetty, Anuja Chauhan and INSV Tarini and Shabnam Virmani were amongst others who were present on the occasion.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter Shweta Bachchan Nanda also attended the fest.

“We The Women is a participatory forum that aims to build an annual space, brings an unfettered expression, great conversation, forging bonds, mentoring and networking and a wide community of friends,” said Dutt.

On whether cinema has found its female voice, Sonam said many women facing sexual harassment at workplace or their experiences of sexual violence do not report as it would amount to re-living the trauma.

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“Though it is great women are speaking up, it is also showing us how hard it is to break that silence. The industry is stepping out to support women voice and it’s going to take time to create a universe where all voices will be treated equally,” she reiterated.

On sexual assault allegations against film producer Vikas Bahl, Sonam hoped that even if one person spoke against, it would make a difference.

“I don’t know him (Bahl). I don’t know the situation but if what is written is true, it is disgusting. It’s awful. And if it is true they should be punished for it,” asserted Sonam.

On the masculinity, Bollywood actor Vicky Kaushal said “men expressed their gender identity in a variety of ways”.

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“Some believe that being a man requires honesty, courage, hard work, and competence. Others express masculinity through physical prowess, toughness, and daring,” Kaushal quipped.

The festival also honoured men and women who showed excellence in their areas, taking risks, battling the odds and coming their way to success.

–IANS

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